And here is the second post for today.
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth. ~ Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses
Smells are so evocative. Memories just pop into my head.
When I smell newly mown grass I think of the parks we used to inhabit growing up in London. We had no garden living as we did in an apartment, but we were taken regularly to the local park.
The smell of warm glue immediately transports me back more than 50 years to the kitchen where my father would have a pot of hot glue sitting on top of the coal burner for his furniture making.
The smell of mixed spices recalls my mother’s fantastic bread pudding. This was made with stale bread soaked overnight with a good dollop of mixed spices and currants, raisins and any other dried fruit available. The next day the bread would be squeezed to get out the water and the whole thing put into bake for an hour or so. During the war there was no butter to spare for this so it didn’t contain any.
When I think of Mother’s kitchen I think of bread pudding. My sisters and I have such great memories of this bread pudding.
For more bread pudding recipes click here.
And just occasionally I get a whiff of Aramis and that takes me back so long ago to when we lived in Montreal and Bob used to wear that cologne. Of course, it evokes many memories of our years together too.
Creosote which you don’t often smell anymore immediately takes me to the open-air swimming pool at London Fields, in London where we all grew up.
For those of you who don’t know coal tar creosote is the most widely used wood preservative in the world. It is a thick, oily liquid typically amber to black in colour and the local Council used to paint this onto the wood surrounding the pool every summer. The smell is distinct and when added to the smells of summer, it is quite heady.
The smell of talc on a small baby – oh the memories that brings back; the smell of the newly fallen leaves when one walks through them immediately transports me to the Laurentians; the smell when the grandchildren have been to the pool revives memories of learning to swim; what about newly laid tarmac on the road; the smell of sand on a hot day brings so many memories, too many to list here and so many many other smells that immediately evoke memories. I am sure you have plenty of your own.
This is one of our senses and we usually take our sense of smell for granted. Life would be less colourful and exciting without it. See my post on the five senses here.
The nights are closing in here and it is already dark at 7pm. But soon there will be the smell of woodsmoke to revive other memories.